I'm looking find a cheat sheet for protein biology to stick on my desk to remind of some of the key principles of protein biology. I seem to remember the specific and complex principles in protein biology but at the expense of the basics.

Can anyone point me to a protein biology cheat sheet or formulate some suggestions to go on one?


What I am looking for:

  • Amount of amino acids in a helix turn
  • Amino acids typically found in Beta sheets and Helices
  • The types of protein interactions (i.e. ionic, hydrophobic) and the amino acids usually involved.
  • Definition of Globular and fibrous form
  • Types of post-translational modifications
  • Any other useful characteristics
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE. This question may be too vague to be reasonably answered here. I would suggest by starting to read an entry-level molecular or cell biology textbook. Perhaps you could more specifically narrow down which subset of protein chemistry you are looking for a cheat sheet on. For example, amino acid properties, classes of protein structures and functions, post-translational modification. $\endgroup$
    – user560
    Apr 14, 2012 at 18:15
  • $\begingroup$ Related: a friend of mine created this periodic table of aminoacids. The original is in Italian, but an English translation is attached at the end of that forum post. Also, svg sources are available and it is under a BY-NC-SA CC license so you can modify/expand it to your liking. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Apr 19, 2012 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


For 95% of the work I do with protein, I find this chart very helpful, showing common post-translational modifications, for each amino acid, with molecular weights, associated codons, pKa values, 1- and 3-letter amino acid codes, chemical structure and chemical properties (polar, non-polar, aromatic, acidic, basic).


I think this is a question about what else should be on a protein cheat sheet.

If you are clever you can format this to have a very high density of information. A good project.

Here's my list - I never made a sheet though. Also I tend to be interested in protein structure, so there's a bias here.

  • The frequency of the amino acids in say e coli or the PDB
  • The average molecular weight of an amino acid (~110 daltons)
  • avg backbone width of a sheet (5 x 6 Ang) and helix (12 Ang.) DNAMajor groove is also 12 Ang btw.
  • common non standard amino acids (ornithine, seleneomet, etc).
  • common post translational modifications (e.g. T/Y phosphorylation)
  • common non standard secondary structure (3-10 helix etc) or a small ramachandran diagram
  • pKas of amino acids - remember that charge is defined at pH 7
  • the genetic code

For alpha/beta propensities, I would use chou-fasman's numbers. Its annoying because there are some amino acids in both lists.

I will try to think of more and add later...


You can find the answer in any university-level biochemistry textbook.

I would recommend you Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry, if you could find it in your university library.

Skim the list of content, find corresponding chapters and write it down. It won't take you several hours.


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